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Cambridge City Seminars: Urban Ecologies: Insurgent Cities: Post-Politicisation and the re-emergence of Political Space

Professor Erik Swyngedouw (University of Manchester)
When Feb 16, 2016
from 05:30 PM to 07:00 PM
Where Classroom, Department of Architecture
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Since 2011, a seemingly never ending proliferation of urban rebellions sparked off by a variety of conditions and unfolding against the backdrop of very different historical and geographical contexts profoundly disturbed the apparently cosy neoliberal status-quo and disquieted various economic and political elites. It is precisely the aftermath of such urban insurrections that provides the starting point for the arguments developed in this presentation.

I proceed in four steps. First, I discuss the contested configurations of the processes of post-democratization. In a second part, I propose a series of theoretical and political arguments that help frame the evacuation of the properly political from the spaces of urban post-democratic policy negotiation on the one hand and the spectral re-emergence of the political on the other. In the concluding part, perspectives for re-vitalising the political possibilities of a spatialized emancipatory project are presented.

Erik Swyngedouw is Professor of Geography at Manchester University. His research interests include political-ecology, hydro-social conflict, urban governance, democracy and political power, and the politics of globalisation. His was previously professor of geography at Oxford University and held the Vincent Wright Visiting Professorship at Science Po, Paris, 2014. He recently co-edited (with Japhy Willson) The Post-Political and its Discontents: Spectres of Radical Politics Today (Edinburg University Press, 2014). His new book with MIT-Press, Liquid Power, focuses on water and social power in 20th century Spain. He is currently working on a new book, provisionally entitled The Promises of the Political (MIT-Press).